On August 7, 1851 the Rome Cemetery Association was formed to locate a new burial ground to replace the original Rome Cemetery on North James Street - what is now Fort Stanwix Park. Twenty-five acres were purchased from Thomas Williams for the price of $2,313.50. Howard Daniels of New York City was employed to lay out and improve the cemetery.
The cemetery ground was dedicated with appropriate religious services on July 19, 1853. The address was given by the Rev. H.C. Vogel. The first interment was on July 27, 1853 and was that of Augustus J. Vogel, the 25 year old son of Reverend Vogel.
During the years 1853 to 1889 the remains of those interred in the old cemetery were re-interred in Rome Cemetery. Most of the reinterrments were into family lots, but those without family connections in Rome were moved into Section L in 1889.
Some of the prominent Romans buried in Rome Cemetery are: Benjamin Huntington (1736-1800) - he was the father of George and Henry Huntington Rome's first merchants in 1793; Joshua Hathaway (1771-1836) - he was a postmaster for 28 years, a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and, according to his headstone, "was assigned the honor of breaking ground on the Erie Canal on July 4, 1817"; John B. Jervis (1795-1895) - was a construction engineer on a number of canal and railroad projects. Jervis Ave on which the cemetery is located was named after him and his home is now the Jervis Library; Jesse Williams (1798-1864) - is the undisputed founder of the "factory system" for making cheese; John Stryker (1808-1885) - was a lawyer in the City of Rome and was the first attorney for the Utica and Syracuse Railroad. It was through his influence that the railroad's course was through Rome rather than along Seneca Turnpike. He also actively secured the Black River Canal and changed the course of the Erie Canal for the benefit of the Village of Rome; and Francis Bellamy (1855-1931) - the son of a native Roman who was pastor of the First Baptist Church in the 1860's. Francis was charged from his editor of the Youth's Companion to author a universally acceptable and mature "salute" to the flag - this "salute" - the Pledge of Allegiance.
Today the Rome Cemetery consists of 140 acres of beautiful, treed grounds. In addition, the Kingsley Memorial Chapel, built in 1892 and given to the cemetery by the Late Dr. W.J.P. Kingsley in memory of his son, Dr. G. Lyle Kingsley, is on the right of the entrance to the cemetery and down near the pond is the Parker F. Scripture Memorial Carillon, given by his family and friends. In 2013 the Carillon was upgraded to a digital format and can be heard daily on the hour from 8 am to 6pm. Special requests can be made by contacting the cemetery office.